Brewster: $1.7 Million in School Safety Grants Approved for Local Districts

Brewster: $1.7 Million in School Safety Grants Approved for Local Districts

Harrisburg – February 26, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today said that $1.7 million in state school safety grants will soon be distributed to local schools.

Brewster, who represents portions of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, serves as a member of the School Safety and Security Committee. He has been the General Assembly’s foremost advocate for addressing school safety issues. The funds were approved by the committee at its meeting today.

“These grants are critical tools that can be used to protect students, teachers, administrators and visitors to school facilities,” Brewster said. “As a member of the committee that approves these grants, I am keenly aware of the needs of area schools and committed to helping improve security.”

Brewster said that he would continue to work to adjust competitive grant criteria so that more school districts can access maximum funding. 

The following school districts in Brewster’s area will receive competitive and meritorious school grants:

Allegheny County:

  • Baldwin-Whitehall School District                                              $45,000
  • Brentwood School District                                                            $35,000
  • Clairton School District                                                                  $30,000
  • Duquesne School District                                                              $30,000
  • East Allegheny School District                                                     $481,508
  • Elizabeth Forward School District                                              $40,000
  • Gateway School District                                                                $40,000
  • McKeesport Area School District                                                $45,000
  • Plum Borough School District                                                     $40,000
  • South Allegheny School District                                                  $455,000
  • West Allegheny School District                                                   $40,000
  • West Mifflin Area School District                                               $40,000

Westmoreland County:

  • Burrell School District                                                                   $35,000
  • Kiski Area School District                                                             $40,000
  • New Kensington-Arnold School District                                   $35,000
  • Penn-Trafford School District                                                     $45,000
  • Westmoreland IU7                                                                         $239,000

Brewster has been a strong and vocal advocate of improving security at school facilities. He has sponsored a package of bills to enhance safety in schools. The legislation includes: the development of a school safety commission, requiring school safety upgrades to be part of approved school construction and rehabilitation projects, and armed guards in school building. 

In addition, last August the school safety committee approved Brewster’s request to create a subcommittee to explore the development of baseline safety and security standards that could be universally applied to all school districts. 

“We must keep providing grant funds to pay for safety upgrades to schools,” Brewster said. “Our children deserve a safe and secure environment that is conducive to education.”

The School Safety and Security Committee was established in 2018. The grants are administered through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.


Brewster Leads Effort to Reopen Bunola River Road

Brewster Leads Effort to Reopen Bunola River Road

McKeesport – February 19, 2020 – The Bunola River Road that services Elizabeth and Forward Townships, Elizabeth Borough and West Elizabeth that was closed to traffic in late January has now reopened following the installation of traffic signals, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today.

Brewster was on hand to help reopen the road at a ceremony held this morning near the placement of permanent lights. 

Following the opening of the road, Brewster issued the following statement:

“My thanks to the leadership of the local PennDOT district office for working with officials in Elizabeth Township, Forward, Elizabeth and West Elizabeth to safely reopen Bunola River Road.

“First responders are again able to get to people in need more quickly.   Special thanks to PennDOT District Engineer Cheryl Moon-Sirianni for helping to find a way to open this road while keeping safety as the top priority.

“West Penn Power also moved quickly to provide electricity to power the traffic signals. A great example of working together to get things done!”

In a statement late last month, Brewster expressed confidence that PennDOT officials, working in concert with local elected representatives, would find the means to reopen the road in short order.


Brewster Salutes McKeesport’s Swin Cash’s Selection to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Brewster Salutes McKeesport’s Swin Cash’s Selection to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

McKeesport – February 11, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today said he is thrilled with McKeesport’s Swin Cash’s selection to the 2020 Class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Cash, who starred at McKeesport High, was an integral member of the University of Connecticut women’s basketball teams that dominated the sport. The team won two national championships while Cash played for the Huskies.

“Swin Cash is an outstanding basketball player who dominated the sport at every level,” Brewster said.  “Even more importantly, Swin is an exceptional person and a tremendous role model.

“Over the years, she not only demonstrated remarkable skills on the court, but she also worked very hard to become a terrific player – an all-time great.”

When Cash finished her collegiate career, she was selected in the WNBA draft by the Detroit Shock.  Over the years, she played for multiple teams that won multiple championships.  Cash also won two Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2012.

“Those of us who watched Swin play through the years were not surprised that she has reached lofty heights in the world of women’s basketball,” Brewster said.  “She demonstrated her commitment to succeed and compete at the highest levels early in her career.

“The entire McKeesport community is proud of Swin’s selection to the Hall of Fame Class of 2020 and we share congratulations for this incredible honor,” Brewster said.

Cash currently serves as vice-president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans.


Brewster Says No Tax Increase, State Budget Proposal is Solid

Brewster Says No Tax Increase, State Budget Proposal is Solid

Spending plan invests in school safety, pushes charter school funding reform 

Harrisburg – February 4, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) today said that Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2020-21 state budget plan is a solid spending framework that emphasizes charter school funding reforms and investments in school safety.

Gov. Tom Wolf presented his $36 billion General Fund spending plan to a joint session of the General Assembly this morning at the state Capitol. 

Brewster, who has been a leading advocate of charter school funding reform and school safety initiatives — including mental health counselors, remediation of safety hazards and better security at schools — said he was pleased that these areas were a focus of the governor’s budget. 

The governor’s plan does not include a call for broad-based tax increases.  The charter school reforms would generate an estimated $280 million in savings for school districts and taxpayers. 

Brewster’s statement follows:

“The governor’s proposed budget does not include a call for additional taxes, which is a win for all taxpayers.  The plan does include investments and important initiatives that I’ve been strongly backing for years.  The charter school funding reforms will yield in excess of $280 million and there is funding included for school safety that can be used to pay for more counselors in schools.

“I look forward to working with the governor and all members of the General Assembly, on both sides of the aisle, to ensure that we enact a solid spending plan that meets the needs of our citizens, without the need to raise taxes.”